Motivation

What motivates you? We all have those runs where we go into thinking it will be slow/crappy/unpleasant for whatever reason. Make excuses for why you can’t pull it together before you even manage to strap your watch on and tie your shoes.

I’ve been on night shifts all week and slept like crap every day. Yesterday I maybe got 5 hours of sleep total (not all at once) and ended up going to the gym twice for a total of 3 hours – the second trip after giving up on trying to fall back asleep when I woke from my afternoon nap. After working all night, I headed to my sister’s neighborhood to do my run before I had to babysit. I was dead tired. Brain said “sorry, nope, those tempo intervals aren’t happening”. So instead I decided to head out for a causal jog, finishing at my favorite coffee shop to grab much needed caffeine before I babysat.

I started out slowly and somewhere along the way decided I HAD to run through Balboa Park…as if I don’t do that every week at NP. I’m really bad at math when I’m tired, so by the time I got to Sixth Ave I looked at my watch and realized “shit, I really need to pick up the pace if I want to have enough time to get coffee”. I FLOORED it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.07.04 PM

Mile 3: 6th Ave to El Prado

Mile 5 was probably more in line with the 4th mile, but there was an incident where a bee got caught in my braid and I had to stop. I forgot to pause my watch because HELLO THERE WAS FREAKIN BEE IN MY HAIR. Finally got it out without being stung and proceeded on. On the last stretch I was becoming exceedingly annoyed that I kept getting stopped at red lights for ridiculous amounts of time. I hit sub 7 pace uphill for a little while. I really wanted that damn coffee.

While I could’ve opted for a much shorter, slower route, my desire to run through one of the coolest places in SD and to get my sweet delicious nectar of the gods kept me moving. Besides which, every time I run through that park all I can think about is how lucky I am to live here. Instead of the 8:15-ish average pace I was planning on, I ended up with a 7:41. Hey, whatever works.

img_3736

Obligatory stop at the Bea Evanson aka November Project fountain

img_3737

Made it!

Coffee shop: Dark Horse // North Park Way & 30th, San Diego
Drink: Champ // Espresso, steamed almond milk, honey, cinnamon, crack

In other totally unrelated news, my first trail half marathon is tomorrow! I have completed a trail 10K (and that course is part of my half course). “A” goal: don’t fall or break an ankle. Wish me luck!

Advertisements

The Boston Marathon

Marathon Monday is just a few days away and my Facebook feed has been blowing up with all things Boston. It’s only natural that I talk about it too.

The Boston Marathon was never something that was on my radar. In fact, the 2013 bombings made me weary of ever signing up for a race. I knew it existed and was kind of a big deal, but other than that I never paid attention to it. I had only been to Boston for one day in my entire life, so it’s not like I had any real connection to the city.

After running my first half marathon I decided to take a big leap and sign up for my first full marathon. I was on a night shift when I pulled the trigger, and I tend to make drastic decisions when I’m tired. The race was over a year away, and I had 5 more halfs, a 10 miler, and a 10K in the meantime. I added Portland to my spreadsheet. Yes, I keep a spreadsheet. It also includes races I want to do. It looks a little something like this:

races

I looked up the Boston qualifications standards, laughed to myself, and added Boston 2017 to my sheet – followed by “lol jk”. Months went by, I ran more races, and I tried to figure out what my time goal should be for Portland. I put in some of my better half times into the ol’ Race Times Predictor. Wait what? My predicted marathon time would qualify me? I decided to sign up for the Surf City Marathon as opposed to the half as a backup qualifier. I wasn’t convinced I could do it, and am forever greatful for the people who believed in me and encouraged me. I ended up qualifying at both, with 6 minutes to spare at Portland. I went to Powell’s on my last day in Portland and while perusing one of the mainy aisles this caught my eye:

img_0568

Sold. I sat there with my coffee and began reading it. I had chills. The whole thing sounded EPIC. The energy. The crowds. The vibe of the entire city the weekend of the race. The race itself. No wonder people nearly kill themselves trying to qualify for this thing. I still can’t believe that a year from now I will likely be a part of it all, and I cannot WAIT. Sometimes I want to cry just thinking about it. I know it won’t feel real until I have that “confirmation of acceptance” in my hand. Only 6 more months to go…

Good luck to everyone running on Monday. Enjoy every moment, beccause you are a part of something HUGE.

Back to Half Crazy

Real talk. I only followed a training plan for my first half marathon. After that I wouldn’t really call what I did training, it was more like randomly going for a long run – especially since a couple months after that race I wound up in physical therapy for some gnarly IT Band Syndrome.  Up until this point I essentially showed up to a half and ran it. I did train for both marathons – an 18 week plan for Portland and an 8 week plan for Surf City as it was only a few months after Portland. There was no way of getting around that! I have a year (ugh, so long!) before my next full marathon. In the meantime I have plenty of shorter races to keep me occupied.

Seeing as how I’m already freaking out over my goal for Sea Wheeze, I decided to do not one but TWO training plans. In the past I had use some of the plans from Hal Higdon. They got the job done, and hello, they were F-R-E-E. In fact, when people ask about training plans I usually point them to this website. There are multiple plans based on your current ability and experience, which is awesome. This time around I’m trying something different though.

img_3706

Some flowers on my “long” run this morning.

This week I started the Gals Who Run 5 Week Advanced Run Program. It revolves around speed work as opposed to building up distance. I figured this would give me a “kick start” before diving into serious training. More importantly, I could use the boost of confidence in terms of speed. Marathon training was just so high volume that I felt like I was actually getting slower. Not cool, yo. Once my 5 week plan is over, I’ll be moving on to their half marathon plan. I’d say the first week went over pretty well. Between my Ragnar times last weekend and some of my runs this week my goal doesn’t seem so far fetched. I mean if I can pull of 8+ miles at a 7:33 pace on less than 2 hours of sleep in the back of a car I can definitely do 13 at 7:15 pace on a full night’s sleep in a BED, right? Right. At least I have 5 other halfs before then just to make sure 😉

Running Company

I have always trained alone. Every last run during the training for my first half marathon and most for my first marathon were completed totally alone. While it was awesome that I could just go and do them whenever I had time – because who DOESN’T want to do a 16 miler at 4:30 PM on a Sunday – looking back it kind of sucked.

I never had a problem running alone. It was all I knew. I still don’t mind it, and sometimes prefer it. But once I joined the now-defunct lululemon UTC run club and November Project I began running with others more and sow how much more enjoyable it can be. Not only is it more fun, but there are other benefits:

  • Accountability. Do you think I’d show up at the crack of dawn to do speed work at a track if I knew no one else was going to be there? HELL NO. My alarm would be shut off before Finn Hudson could mutter the first words of Faithfully. Yeah I have GLEE music for my track alarm. JUDGE ME. It also keeps me from ditching a run early.
  • Speed. Alone and tired? Yep, immediately make the run a slow run. Something about running with others automatically makes me go a little faster, especially if I run with fast people. I absolutely crushed every lulu UTC run because I didn’t want to make our #fastAF leader run too slow. Even when we were going up that stupid mother effing Nancy Ridge Road hill. I still don’t know who Nancy is, but I don’t like her.
  • Support. I’m not talking about your friends setting up water and gummy bear stations on the side of the road for you (though that would be suh-weeeet). But having someone you can exchange encouraging words with, motivate you, and take your mind of the fact that you are voluntarily subjecting yourself to hours of torture.

 

26199050391_2071ffd731_k

Sunset at the end of lululemon Tuesday Trailblazers 4/5/16

I bring this up because this evening I went to the lululemon Tuesday Trailblazers run club. There were only two of us who wanted to do the 6 mile out-and-back. Listen, if I’m dragging myself all the way to Pacific Beach to run I’m going to make it worth my time. We took off running and dashing around people who insist on taking up the entire sidewalk. I knew we were going fairly fast for what was supposed to be a casual run. My eyes nearly shot out of my head when I looked down at my watch, but I didn’t say anything. We kept going. Near the turn-around we both agreed we should take it down a notch since I’m still sore from Ragnar and she had a swim workout tomorrow. It was teetering on that slightly-uncomfortable pace. Yeah, the slowing down lasted about one-quarter mile. We finished strong and ended up with a 7:39 pace. Huh? Casual run club run turned moderate effort run? Neither of us would’ve run that fast had we been alone, but somehow, without saying a word, we pushed each other. We worked harder than we intended. We really picked up the pace towards the end. We both agreed that it. Was. Awesome. While I have to miss the next few weeks of Tuesday Trailblazers due to work and travel, hopefully I’ll be able to make it back and run with her again!

 

Ragnar So Cal Recap

Over the weekend I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to run Ragnar So Cal with Team Nuun. For those who don’t know what Ragnar Relays entail, it goes something like this:

  • Teams of 12 (or 6 for the Ultra crazy people) runners
  • Two vans with 6 runners each.
  • Each team member takes turns running their legs of the relay. You meet at “exchange points” to drop off the next runner and pick up the person currently running. The first 6 runners in “van 1” run while “van 2” hangs out/sleeps/eats. After the 6th runner vans 1 & 2 meet at the “major exchange” and van 2 starts running. Now it is time for “van 1” to chill.
  • Everyone runs 3 times. Distances vary. Total distance is 200-ish miles.
  • Little (if any) sleep during the event.
  • Lots of snacks.

We all met on Thursday afternoon at our hotel in San Diego. Aside from a little pre-race interaction on Facebook, we were mostly strangers from all over – San Diego, LA, NYC, Chicago, Honolulu, Seattle – we even had two from Canada (Vancouver and Winnipeg)! We decorated our vans with window paint, walked to dinner, and hung out before heading to bed.

IMG_2859

Van 1 looking fly. P.S. a “kill” is when you pass a runner on your leg.

Friday morning we woke up too early for our own good, had breakfast and then went to Better Buzz for some coffee realness. After packing up the cars van 1 headed to Huntington Beach to start the race. Yours truly was Runner #1. After pickup up our bibs and all that it was off to the races with a casual 1 PM start time.

IMG_0014

Starting the race with 5 fast dudes. I beat 2 of them! My first leg was only 2.3 miles.

The unfortunate part about starting so late is you hardly see ANYONE on the course or at the exchanges. It was sad and a little lonely. When we made it to Exchange 6, the first major exchange, there were like…3-4 other teams there? So much for huge party! At least we got some sweet shots and hung out at the Nuun booth.

IMG_2669

Exchange 6 team (minus Tony because he was running) jumping photo.

They took off and we went and had dinner. In-n-Out it was because why not? After that we had the long trek from Orange to Vista for the next exchange. The rest of our team was finishing in San Clemente (there was a gap in the course because Camp Pendleton is in the way and there is literally nowhere to run). After more coffee, hanging out with my NP Hugs & Harmony 2.0 friends, and a short warm up, I began my second leg around 11 PM. This one was only 3.9 miles. We carried on until the wee hours of the morning along dark streets and bike paths. At least at this point we had caught up to some of the other teams. Yay! People! KILLS! We finished up at Exchange 18 where we finally met up with the rest of the team again. We sent them off and heading to Exchange 24 and finally tried to sleep. I might have had 2 hours of sleep max. In the back row of an SUV. Sitting up. Quality napping right there. Around 5 AM I started my final leg. This was the longest of 3 at 7.9 miles. The best part is the second half of my leg was along Coast Highway in Carlsbad. The sky started to light up as I ran along the beach and it was awesome! I passed 57 other teams on the way. Peace, suckas! I made it to the exchange point and just like that I was done running for the day. What? ALREADY? Spent the rest of the gorgeous morning along the coast as van 1 finished up.

IMG_2789

Van 1 minus Winnipeg at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

IMG_2851

Van 1 all done running! Taking in the views at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Because we are runners the only logical thing to do after we were done was to brunch HARD at Swami’s. We met up with Van 2 at a couple of exchanges to cheer them on and proceeded to the finish area to wait for them. Around 3 PM our final runner was making the turn towards the finish line and we all ran in with her. Woohoo Team Nuun was DONE! After having the obligatory free beer we headed to the hotel to shower – FINALLY A SHOWER – and relax. Pizza by the pool? Yes please.

Overall it was one truly amazing experience. We raced. We ate. We cheered LOUDLY for each other and other random runners. We bonded like crazy. Went in strangers and came out friends. Every last person on my team was positive, funny, fast, supportive, inspirational, and an all-around good time. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. I miss them already. Big shout out to Nuun Hydration for letting me be a part of this epic journey (and keeping me #hydratedAF).

IMG_0442

And the finisher photo! Boom.

Side note: still waiting on official results but we might have placed 1st in our division!